Ever Stress Over Luggage When Traveling Abroad?

June 15th, 2015 / blog / 0 comments

Have you ever wondered if there is an easier way to deal with your luggage while traveling abroad?  Or had the unhappy experience of delayed or lost luggage by an airline?  You can certainly consider shipping your luggage to your destinations using shipping services like FedEx or DHL, but innovative companies such as Luggage Forward (and others) offer personalized shipping service from your home to your destination.  This service comes with a price but may offset the worry of it being delayed or lost, and the stress of handling your own luggage through train stations and in and out of hotels before or after a cruise, for example.

Their services typically include tracking where your bag is at all times until it reaches its destination, re-routing it if your itinerary changes, and guaranteeing an on-time delivery, and in good condition.  Call us for details to see if this may be a good choice for your next vacation.

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Have You Checked Your Passport Expiration Date?

May 15th, 2015 / blog / 0 comments
passport expiration, international travel

A quick check of your passport may save you a lot of time and stress when getting ready to leave for your next trip abroad. Many countries now require that the passport expiration date be valid for at least six months beyond your return travel date so make sure yours is ready to go.

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The Not-to-be-Missed “Lake District” of Northern Italy

May 10th, 2015 / blog / 0 comments

Visions of Italy for many include iconic art treasures, breath-taking historical sites, delicious wines and food, and scenic countryside for starters, but often overlooked is the majestic beauty of Italy’s numerous lakes, just steps away from Milan and Venice in the foothills of the Alps.  Each of the major lakes has its own unique character but all offer relaxation, beauty, a variety of accommodations, great cuisine, and a plethora of water and outdoor activities.  Having just spent a glorious week in this area, I invite you to consider seeing for yourself what these lakes have to offer.  In addition to experiencing one of the major lakes described below, you may want to explore some of the smaller lakes such as Lake Orta and its medieval village of Orta San Giulio.  Here is an idea of what you will find at the major lakes in this region…

Lake Garda, Italy, Northern Italy, lake districtLake Garda – is located farthest to the east and is the largest lake in Italy.  The water is clean and great for swimming, fishing and boating.  It boasts natural hot springs water that is piped to two villages on its shoreline.  One of these spa towns is picturesque and medieval Sirmione, located on a peninsula on the southern shore – less than one hour from beautiful Verona and next door to the Valpolicella wine region.   Consider the Villa Cortine Palace Hotel for a luxurious stay in a tranquil park setting with glorious lake views.

Lake Como, Italy, Northern Italy Lake Como – lies directly north of Milan about one hour by train or car.  Surrounded by beautiful mountains, it has the largest concentration of beautiful villas on its shoreline, which were largely built during the heyday of the silk business in this area.  The southern and middle portions of Lake Como are dotted with charming villages as well as the bustling town of Como to the south that has a lovely historic center, great shopping, two train stations, and plenty of great dining options.  This is the hub for the public ferry systems that run throughout the lake and even offers a seaplane port for transportation “uplake” or to nearby lakes and scenic sightseeing.  Great hiking trails abound all around the lake, some quite challenging.  Accommodations range from simple boutique hotels to luxurious villa hotels that you will not want to leave.

Lake Maggiore, Italy, Northern ItalyLake Maggiore – is the second largest of the lakes in this region and has several lovely islands, all of which are privately owned by the Borromeo family except one.  Two of their islands, Isola Madre and Isola Bella, have beautiful gardens open to the public, with Bella also offering a villa to explore – both of which are well worth a visit.  This lake is great for swimming and boating, as well as other water activities. Other activities include golf, a scenic train, shopping, hiking, and a visit to nearby Piedmont wine region.  The Villa & Palazzo Aminta awaits you if you are looking for a luxurious and relaxing stay.

These lakes are easily reached by car (Lake Garda from Venice or Verona to the east, Lakes Como and Maggiore from Milan to the south) or by train.  Driving is not for the faint of heart in this area, however, as roads are very narrow and many are very windy with lots of congestion (especially Lake Como).  You may want to consider arriving by train then having a private transfer or car/water taxi to your hotel.

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Avoiding Catching A Cold When Flying

April 15th, 2015 / blog / 0 comments
If you are like me, I have often suffered getting a cold after flying a long distance. The air dryness and lingering germs on surfaces are both factors. Try these helpful tips, courtesy of IndependentTraveler.com:
1.  Stay well hydrated (drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine).
2. Keep your hands clean (wash with hot soapy water, if possible, or use alcohol wipes)
3. Use a saline nasal mist to keep mucous membranes moist.
4. Use a germ-killing mouthwash (helps moisten your throat as well).
5. Consider taking large does of Vitamin C before, during and shortly after your travel and don’t forget your vitamins.
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Google Translate App

March 15th, 2015 / blog / 0 comments
Your smartphone may become your best friend on your next trip. Google recently announced a major update to their translate app that enables your phone’s camera to translate printed text, even without an Internet or data connection. This is currently available for six languages on Android and iOS versions, with plans to keep adding languages. There is also translation by speech once the foreign language is selected on your phone. Enjoy this demo, courtesy of the Huffington Post: Huffington Post Google Tech Interview.
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Best Honeymoon Packages this 2015

February 24th, 2015 / blog / 0 comments

Best Honeymoon Packages this 2015

Getting married this year? Congratulations! Perhaps you’re too overwhelmed now with the wedding plans and preparations, but don’t forget you still have the honeymoon to plan. It’s one of the most exciting times in a couple’s life so you’ve got to make sure you plan it well.

We know you want a perfect honeymoon but there are just too many details to work on with your wedding preps. We can help you with that as Gateway Destinations can create a personalized and unique honeymoon for you and your love. We aim to save you time and money with the customized honeymoon packages we can plan for you.

Gateway Destinations has been in the business of honeymoon tours for many years. We also customize women-only tours and more adventures for the whole family. If you’ve been thinking of going to Hawaii, Alaska, or some country in Europe, you can leave the planning to our team and we promise to create an unforgettable dream vacation.

You deserve a tailor-made honeymoon vacation to celebrate your love and union as a new couple. You can go on a land tour or on a cruise for your honeymoon—your very first vacation together as a newly married couple.

Even if it’s a customized and personalized travel, we can still work with you to match your budget, style, and preferences—and even make your dreams come true. That romantic getaway you’ve been dreaming of with the love of your life is about to come true.

No matter how complex or simple you want your vacation to be, you will look forward to the honeymoon package Gateway Destinations will be preparing for you. After a beautiful wedding, head on to an extraordinary vacation in any of these places for an ultimate honeymoon experience:

 (1) Venice, Verona & Lake Garda
Enjoy picturesque Verona to see famed Juliet’s balcony, its beautiful and lively piazza and ancient well-preserved arena. Round out your northeastern Italy adventure by exploring the lake-side villages of beautiful Lake Garda, largest of the Italian lakes.

(2) Sorrento & The Amalfi Coast 
Visit Naples and Pompeii with your local guide and discover secret shopping places on the isle of Capri with your personal shopper! End your week with a full day on the amazing Amalfi coast – dine alfresco in the quaint village of Ravello while overlooking the sea then shop the boutiques of picturesque Positano.

(3) Versilia Coast & The Cinque Terre
Travel from village to village by a walking trail or hop-on/hop-off regional train. Enjoy fishing, swimming, boating, wine-tasting, hiking and great casual dining in this truly unique hidden area of the Tuscany region of Italy with the love of your life.

(4) London Theatre & Shakespeare Country
Enjoy one of London’s infamous live theatre performances, contrasting it to a Shakespearean play in the countryside with your spouse.

(5) Athens & The Greek Isles
With our tour itinerary, you can enjoy abundant shopping, savor great food, and enjoy the very lively atmosphere of this vibrant city. Cruise the blue waters of the Aegean sea for three full relaxing days, then off to the beautiful Greek Isles. You’ll also get to visit the ancient site of Ephesus in Turkey.

(6) Costa Rica
Rediscover yourself while you increase awareness of your body, improve your mood and mind, and release stress. You’ll practice daily yoga, focused on tapping into your energy within, eat wholesome gourmet healthy food for vitality, relax on the sand as we meditate to the sound and vibration of the ocean, swim in the oceanfront infinity pool and discover a new you through relaxation and revitalization—all these with your new spouse.

(7) Bordeaux Wine Cruise
This cruise is set in a cozy and air-conditional hotel barge. It’s a small boat used in canals or rivers so this tour is one intimate party. If you love French wine, you may want to attend a Bounties of Bordeaux Wine Cruise organized by Gateway Destinations.

(8) Corfu & Crete, Greece
Corfu and Crete can be the ideal honeymoon destination. Corfu is a beautiful lush island situated in the Ionian sea, west side of mainland Greece. The area boasts of inviting beaches and offers a variety of great dining venues and fine accommodations. Cruise travelers often ignore it but here at Gateway Destinations, we believe there is more to Greece.

For all your honeymoon travel needs, contact Gateway Destinations and we’ll be glad to customize a tour package for you.

 

 

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Top 8 Adventure Tours for Women this 2015

February 17th, 2015 / blog / 0 comments

Top 8 Adventure Tours for Women this 2015

We just started year 2015 but I’m pretty sure you’re already planning a special getaway with your closest girlfriends. Traveling with your family, significant other, and children may be fun but admit it, you sometimes want to take a break and just enjoy some time all by yourself.

What better way to spend time off than with your most trusted friends on a quick girlfriend getaway or on an adventure tour especially planned for women.

Adventure tours for women mean men, parents, and kids are off-limits. For a few days or a couple of weeks, travel somewhere far you haven’t explored and where culture is different and interesting. You and your friends will definitely have a blast remembering the good old days when you go on a special getaway together.

We’ve listed some of the top adventures for women you and your friends should try this 2015:

1.) COSTA RICA
The Ultimate Yoga Bliss in Costa Rica is one of Gateway Destinations’ many custom women-only tours. We’ve partnered with Kim Bowen, founder of Prosper Wellness. Kim is a yoga instructor and a Stress Reduction Specialist, inspirational speaker, and founder of a local yoga based wellness company in Arizona.

 

2.) PERU
Our Peru In All Its Splendor women-only tour will be a 9-day journey that lets you discover art, beauty, and food in this South American country. It’s a trip worth taking as it is filled with many adventures. It’s not only fun, it’s also educational.

 

3.) PARIS
Paris has always been the top travel destination for couples but the City of LoverDs is also a favorite of women going on tours with their girlfriends. Paris in August can be fun but going to the city anytime of the year is quite lovely especially when you’re travelling with the people you love.

 

4.) TUSCANY
Discover the heart of Italy and explore the hidden regions of the region. Taste the world-renowned Chianti and Brunello wines and enjoy the regional authentic cuisines as part of the special tour.

 

5.) ALSACE
Gateway Destinations can plan your Alsatian journey, which will start in the picturesque and lively town of Strasbourg. This place is known as a World Heritage Site and can be found at the France-Germany border. As you begin the Alsatian Wine Tour, you’ll venture into the countryside and follow the wine route up to the beautiful and historic villages like the must-see Colmar.

 

6.) SOUTH AFRICA
Gateway Destinations’ 11-day exclusive adventure through South Africa will include the “big five” and wildlife at the Kruger National Park. After each day of a fun trip, you will retreat to a luxurious lodge reserved only for you.

 

7.) BELLE PROVENCE
Gateway Destinations can plan a custom women-only tour for you. This inviting countryside is one awesome travel destination that will make you appreciate southern France more. It’s a rich area displaying the abundant beauty of nature and its people.

 

8.) INDIA
Travel with your girlfriends to India. You will have a blast learning about the history of Delhi by visiting popular sights and participating in a unique culinary experience in a local Indian family home. Discover the beauty of Taj Mahal and take a photo while in front of it as souvenir. To cap off your day, maybe go on a thrilling elephant ride in Amber Fort.

 

 

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Should I Bring A Debit Card On My Trip?

February 15th, 2015 / blog / 0 comments
Obtaining local currency abroad as needed is preferable over departing the US with large amounts of cash and carrying it with you during your trip – not only for security reasons but also for cost savings as the exchange rate is typically a lot less through an ATM machine in the local country. ATM’S are widely available throughout Europe and in many other countries unless you are in a remote area. This will require using a debit card, which is convenient but be mindful that consumer fraud liability is different for debit cards than it is for credit cards as they are governed by different federal regulations. Most major US banks offer zero liability to the consumer if they are notified promptly but getting funds reimbursed to a checking account is a hassle while traveling and may not be as timely as you need. You may want to consider opening a separate checking account
designated for travel only so that your exposure is limited to the funds in that account. Bank policies vary so speak to your banker before your next trip.
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The Expert Tour Guide to Athens, Greece

February 3rd, 2015 / blog / 0 comments

The Expert Tour Guide to Athens Greece 2

People say that going to Europe can be very expensive. However, those who live in the continent or have been to countries in the region will all agree that travelling there is worth it. The cost of travel will never outweigh the unforgettable moments and beautiful things one can experience in Europe.

We’ve talked about several European cities already and I’m pretty sure you’re convinced that Europe should be your next destination. The only challenge now is for you to decide on which place to visit.

One of the more popular and more affordable places to visit in Europe is Greece. What comes to mind when you hear of the country? Gods, goddesses, Athens, mythology, ancient times, Mykonos, and the beautiful white houses we always see in the movies.

Gateway Destinations offers an Ancient Athens & The Greek Isles Specialty Tour Package. It’s one of our more popular travel deals because many people want to experience an in-depth Grecian experience. This featured tour allows travelers to discover the rich, mythological history of Athens. Explore the prominent archeological wonders of ancient times set in the middle of modern surroundings.

With our tour itinerary, you can enjoy abundant shopping, savor great food, and enjoy the very lively atmosphere of this vibrant city. Aboard the Monarch Ocean Countess, venture out of Athens in style.  Cruise the blue waters of the Aegean sea for three full relaxing days, then off to the beautiful Greek Isles. You’ll also get to visit the ancient site of Ephesus in Turkey.

Visit and see for yourself the famous Mykonos. At night, witness how sophisticated the nightlife is. During the day, visit the beautiful Monastery of Saint John on the island of Patmos, the island of Crete, and Santorini complete with the unique and beautiful architecture. For two days, you’ll stay in a very lovely suite overlooking the crystal shimmering sea.

Ready for your Grecian adventure? Here are some travel tips that might come in handy.

  1. Choose your accommodation well
    Depending on your budget, choose a hotel or resort you like. Hostels are not expensive and there are a lot of budget hotels in Athens especially during the off-season.
  2. Take note of Greek Rules
    Read about the Greek culture and traditions. Some things must be done in a certain way so do your homework and research before going to the country.
  3. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes
    As with any trip to a new place, you need to know the proper clothes and shoes you should be wearing. Wear clothes comfortable enough and shoes that you know will keep you going all day, all night.
  4. Be culturally sensitive
    As an Orthodox Christian country, Greece has a lot of shrines at the roadside. You might notice a lot of people signing the cross. Be respectful at all times.
  5. Rent a moped
    This will make travel easier, faster, and fun if you’re not going with a group tour. A moped will easily bring you from one place to another around Greece. You can rent one for $16 a day.
  6. Travel by train
    You can also travel by train to visit different areas in Greece.
  7. Book overnight ferries
    Greece has many islands so to visit them, you need to travel by boats or ferries. It is highly recommended that you try overnight ferries if you want to visit nearby islands. Overnight fees are usually cheaper.
  8. Book ferries early
    Book early so you’re sure to have a seat reserved for you. Discounts are sometimes given to early reservations.
  9. Eat a super cheap meal
    You don’t need to spend a lot on food. You can keep your stomach full for only $10 per day.
  10. Make the most of your trip
    Visit a lot of tourist destinations and islands. Make the most of your time in Greece. Don’t waste any minute!
  11. Enjoy!

Go ahead and starting ready about Greece. While you’re at it, listen to this beautiful Greek music:

If you want a custom tour or a packaged group tour to the Ancient Athens & The Greek Isles, contact Gateway Destinations.

SOURCES: 1,2

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Versilia Coast and the Cinque Terre

January 27th, 2015 / blog / 0 comments

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Versilia Coast and the Cinque Terre

When you hear about traveling to Italy, a lot of people would think of Rome, Florence, Venice, or Milan. These are some of the most popular cities to explore in Italy but the country has more regions to offer.

Italy is a very beautiful country filled with historical sites worth visiting. There’s Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan, Naples, Verona, Turin, Bologna, Peruvia, and Genoa. These are considered the best places to go to in Italy being the most famous tourist destinations. However, there are smaller regions you can visit and explore while in Italy.

The Versilia Coast & the Cinque Terre are two interesting places just on the other side of Tuscany. The Versilia Coast has beautiful and expansive beaches while further south are the five cliff-sided villages of the Cinque Terre. You can enjoy these areas by traveling from village to village by train or by a walking trail.

Here are ten (10) things you probably didn’t know about the Versilia Coast and the Cinque Terre:

  • The name Versilia is derived from Vessidia, the ancient German word for water (Wesser/Wasser).
  • Climate in Versilia is usually temperate (mild). This makes it an ideal holiday destination by locals and foreigners visiting the city. Expect about 270 sunny days with pleasant warmth. During winter, it can be cold but you won’t experience any biting cold.
  • The most populated and most famous part of Versilia is Pietrasanta. It is located at the foot of the Apuan Alps, extending along the coastline, from South to North, starting at Stazzema and ending up to Marina di Massa.
  • The old or Historical Versilia consists of four places: Stazzema, Seravezza, Pietrasanta, and Forte dei Marmi.
  • Versilian territory includes both mountain and the sea. It boasts of the longest sandy beaches in Italy.
  • One of the impressive sights in Versilia is the whole range of mountains called the Apuan Alps. It spreads as far as the north-west of Tuscany. There are about 200 caves in the mountains and some of them tourists can visit with special guides.
  • Liberty Style in art is very much evident in Versilia. It started in 1905 but in 1917, Art Deco came to life. You’ll see examples of Art Deco style in Villa Arrighi and Villa Argentina.
  • You can enjoy a lot of local cuisines in Versilia: Luca, Pisa, Massa Carrara, and Genoa.
  • The Cinque Terre are situated in the region of Liguria. It is close to Genoa and the boundary of Tuscany. Cinque Terre landscape was formed by a series of folds that results when rocks were pushed, raised, and pressed together during the Tertiary period.
  • There are five villages forming the Cinque Terre: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, Corniglia, and Monterosso.

Want to visit Versilia Coast and the Cinque Terre? Contact Gateway Destinations and we’ll plan a custom tour just for you.

[SOURCES: 1, 2  [ [IMAGE: Davide Vadalà]

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